For some business owners, getting a call to come in to work in the dead of night might leave them feeling down in the dumps, but for one Waunakee business owner, it’s got him down in the dumpsters.
Redbox+ Dumpsters is based out of Waunakee and owned by Chad Beery and his wife Amy.
Chad had been perusing Facebook for ideas from other dumpster business owners about how to grow his own clientele and build his business in new or unique ways, when he came across an idea to assist with clean-up efforts at crash sites on highways and interstates.
“I try to come up with creative ways to generate business that still have value for customers,” he said.
When he dropped his IBM career to become an entrepreneur, it was no easy or stable choice for Chad Beery and his wife Amy, and electing to drop everything in the wee hours of the night to report to work wasn’t easy, either.
He reached out to “quite a few” local towing companies after deciding to pursue the crash site idea, but said he “got a mixed response.” Only one company ultimately followed-up on the idea.
Liberty Towing Service of Madison said it’d keep redbox+ in mind in case a need ever arose, but then went quiet.
That was until one night when Chad and Amy were sound asleep at 2 a.m. and his phone rang. Not recognizing the number, he didn’t answer, but then it rang again. It was Liberty Towing—two semi trucks had collided on a highway and debris was everywhere.
Chad got the information, got dressed, went to his lot to pick up a dumpster, and headed to the interstate to help with the debris removal. Several massive pallets of Sprite soda had spilled all over the pavement.
For five hours, with the interstate lanes closed, Beery helped with the cleanup—using skid steers to scoop the debris from the trucks into the dumpsters.
“It really helped them out and get the interstate opened back up,” he said.
When semi trailers crash or roll over and all the contents fall out, how to quickly and efficiently clean up that debris is at the top of mind. With trailers often surpassing 50-feet in length, they often haul a lot of product.
With the use of redbox+ Dumpsters, the clean-up crews can work more quickly, which helps reduce the risk of further accidents as cars zoom past the pick-up efforts.
“We’re not towing professionals; Liberty and their crews are the towing professionals, so it really comes down to us just trying to help them do their job better,” Beery said. “Rather than hauling debris out trailer after trailer, we bring them a big dumpster, drop it on the roadside, and they can do their work quicker in one go.”
Liberty Towing owner Rod Timmerman said he decided to connect with Beery because they are both entrepreneurs with small businesses.
“I am the same thing as him, I admired his effort and willingness to work,” Timmerman said. “He said I could contact him directly when we needed immediate service."
That is helpful, considering the time, place, and severity of a spill cannot be known until it happens.
So far, Beery has responded to four incidents.
In December, a truck attempting to avoid a car accident ran into a ditch and the trailer hauling shipping materials split open, which took around three hours to pick up.
In another incident, a semi trailer filled with pre-packaged salt bags hit an overpass sign at 60 miles per hour, losing all of its contents out into a ditch. Beery dropped two dumpsters down in the ditch to assist with that clean-up.
And around six weeks ago, a semi full of potatoes lost control in a roundabout, requiring three 30-yard dumpsters to haul off all the spuds.
“Those clean-ups certainly would have taken longer,” Beery said. “Usually they use little dump trailers behind pickup trucks, so this is making their jobs greatly faster and safer, moving so much more volume, saving time and multiple trips. It’s pretty labor intensive, and some of the calls have been in the middle of the night. I can’t do it every time, but so far I’ve been able to.”
The potato and salt clean-ups required Beery and two other redbox+ employees, while for the other two calls, which came in the middle of the night, Beery went alone rather than dealing with trying to wake up employees.
While he is happy to offer this new service, he admits there is one drawback: The dumpsters that get used become tied-up until an insurance agent can come get pictures of the scrapped hauls.
This extra gig has also been “very different from normal” operations at redbox+, Beery said.
Usually the company serves commercial and residential job sites–remodeling or roofing projects, or for building highrises downtown.
For those situations, Beery drops a dumpster and leaves. For the crash site clean-ups, he is much more involved, he said, staying on site and helping to clean-up where possible, with his crew members digging debris out of ditches, and said his staff are not trained as safety professionals.
“When we have a big crash where a semi has tipped over, we have to get rid of debris, but we don't always have the capacity to haul the product away to get the road open,” Timmerman said. “The objective is to get the scene cleared as fast as possible.”
With Beery’s help, the speed of getting debris hauled off has increased “by far,” Timmerman said. He believes the process has now been sped-up by three to four hours.
“We didn’t have the manpower or equipment to deal with that on our own,” Timmerman said. “Now we can respond to and clear a scene so much faster. Before we used dump trailers and had to make multiple trips, it was a lengthy process, we couldn’t clear things as fast as we can now.”